Tuesday, March 20, 2007

See what I see: justin.tv

Some readers of this blog may have heard of the now defunct Ajax calendar Kiko. The founders, yCombinator brethren, sold the application on eBay several months ago for a quarter of a million, then immediately went back to Paul Graham for more funding for a new idea which was just revealed yesterday: Justin TV

For those of you who remember jennicam from about 8 or 9 years ago, this is somewhat similar, but more hi-fi. Justin Kan walks around with a wearable camera constantly connected to the 'net 24/7 broadcasting everything and everyone he comes in to contact with. You get to watch all this while chatting with others watching, see his schedule, read about the "cast," etc. Last night they roamed the streets of San Francisco doing gorilla marketing putting justin.tv stickers up on stop signs and bus stops. Entertainment at its finest.

Justin.tv is the kind of thing you don't want to watch because it's a direct productivity kill, but then 45 minutes later, you're still sitting there waiting to see where they're driving to, what random person will prank call them next, or even what the outcome is of some technical conversation they're having.

But of course the main reason we bring this up is someone is already running a market about it a day after launch :) How many days in a row will justin.tv be broadcasting 24/7?

Good luck Justin in keeping your sanity. We'll be watching you. Literally.

Friday, March 16, 2007

New corporate homepage, logo

With our homepage growing very long in the tooth and being sorely outdated, we decided to bite the bullet this week, pull an all-nighter, and re-do it. It's not finished content-wise, but it was good enough to release to the masses for now and we'll continue to iterate on it in the coming days as we do with everything else.

You can see it here: http://inklingmarkets.com

We also re-designed our logo and unfortunately we succumbed to the web2.0 trend of color reflections. We fought it for a long time, but we finally gave in and are pretty happy with the results. We also chose to use a serif font vs. the Arial Rounded Bold we had been using. Partly because another prediction exchange started using that font or one that looks very much like it, and partly we liked the contrast between the old school font and the ultra-modern looking "crowd" next to it.

Here's the new logo:

If anyone has comments on either the homepage or our new brand, let us know, we're anxious to hear what people think.

Chicago Prediction Markets

Working with the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper, we launched chicago.inklingmarkets.com this week. Like ABC-KGO in San Francisco, the Chicago Sun-Times hopes to focus on local issues in their markets but is allowing users to create their own markets in addition to ones they will run which will still mean a mix of local and national issues. They plan to begin integrating the results/current forecasts in to some of their stories in the paper and online which should drive usage and interest in the marketplace. It's exciting to see prediction market results become part of the news as has already begun to be trendy with the Iowa Electronic Markets avian flu market (recent NPR feature among others) and numerous mentions of Tradesports' markets in newspapers, magazines, etc.

And for those of you who are on the "stodgy old media" bandwagon re: newspapers, for your information, we talked to the Sun-Times for the first time about doing this last week. The marketplace was up and running this week.

Friday, March 09, 2007

FinancialNext Launches

FinancialNext (http://www.financialnext.com) is the latest marketplace to launch using the Inkling Markets platform, and judging by their name, I'll bet you can already tell it's related to the Financial Services industry. :)

FinancialNext is being run by a Wall Street macro-economic research professional who is constantly looking at the "consensus view" for financial and economic indicators that are going to be released in the future. He thought prediction markets and Inkling would be the perfect application to gain a better consensus for these forecasts to create a better and more accurate picture of what analysts/economists are thinking real-time, vs. a static survey that is usually released by the major financial publications.

Right now FinancialNext is open for public trading, but they will maintain control of the markets that are run for now vs. allowing everyone to create their own.

We're very excited FinancialNext has come about and expect them to get a lot of attention in the coming months. They are also one of several industry marketplaces we expect to be announcing in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!